Sheer Melody

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The year 2006 in cinema

The year’s almost over, it’s almost November, and I don’t see too many good movies coming up. So it’s time to introspect on the year gone by and the movies I saw this year…

The year started well, with a rather well-made movie Walk the Line, based on the life and love of Johnny Cash. The wordless opening visuals of Fulsom Prison are sufficiently attention-grabbing to make anyone sit up and take notice. With well-framed shots, which capture the musical genre as well as the times with acute precisions, this movie succeeds on three counts – fantastic music which could well make you a fan of country music, a well-orchestrated chemistry between the lead actors and most importantly, a terrific and sensitive portrayal of a long suffering, mentally tormented character by Joaquin Phoenix.

Another award-winner at the Oscars, Munich is brutal; akin to Schindler’s List, the very anti-thesis of the E.T. and Jurassic Park Spielberg. I can’t make myself like the movie; I can’t make myself hate it either. There is an element of pessimism which starts as a spark in the beginning of the movie and becomes a raging flame by the time the movie ends. In a nutshell, the film turns out to be dark and depressing. Not easy viewing, not by a mile. The authenticity is laudable, and so are the performances. I have heard that the amount of violence in the movie is laughable when compared to the book on which it is based (Vengeance) [which is in-fact responsible for a few critics not accepting the movie with open arms], I am yet to confirm this. In spite of all my grievances, I do confess I enjoyed the movie; it was dark, depressing and deeply moving.

Ice Age 2, the sequel to Ice Age from Pixar, was eagerly awaited, as is the case with any Pixar film. To be fair to the movie, it is reasonably funny (when I say funny, I mean kid-funny) and I am sure it was and still is a great hit with the kids, but it fails to live up to the expectations raised by Ice Age. The humor is really cheesy at times, with its set of farty jokes and impossible situations. Adult viewers would be disappointed.

Scary Movie 4: I know, I know: the four sounds scary. Normally sequels are tough nuts to crack, unless they are Godfather sequels, which of course, change the whole story. Scary Movie 4 is just about OK. The main targets of the mindless parody are Spielberg’s The war of the worlds, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, James Want’s Saw, and Manoj Night Shyamalan’s The Village. Full of humor of the grossest kind, mindless senseless sexual innuendo, and violence, this movie was just about worth the rental.

The Sentinel. Yet another terrible movie. Based on some author’s book by the same name, this movie is mostly a wild goose chase around the White House, as seen through the concerned eyes of a White House Secret Service Agent (played by Michael Douglas). I should have realized more when Clark Johnsons’ name flashes through the opening credits (remember the disastrous S.W.A.T?). With Douglas’ protecting the first lady and having an affair with her at the same time, the plot really fails to evoke even the least bit of interest in the audience. With little background on the president other than the fact that he is a cuckold, the film leaves you with a lingering headache as the ending credits roll in.

The Da Vinci Code. Well, well, well! What does one say about one of the most awaited movies of the year? Well, the movie failed… Miserably. If you have read the book, the movie feels like a lame actors plodding around a failed storyline, and if you haven’t read the book, you might as well take a nap. The acting is woody, and Tom Hanks at best looks unconcerned and totally out of sorts. Paul Bettany who plays Silas, the albino monk with belief in self-flagellation, irregular Latin verbs, and homicide overdoes everything in his part. Audrey Tautou in the part of Sophie is lackluster and like Hanks, seems to be going through the motions. If you are drunk, you might give this movie an eight on ten.

Superman Returns, was, for many super-hero fans and admirers the most awaited movie of the year. The movie tries its best to be big, entertaining and sentimental at the same time, and that’s probably where it fails. The director fails in bringing the larger-than-life sequences to life, and even the newsroom of the Daily Planet looks drab, dull and totally devoid of the life which was so much a part of it in the earlier movies. Brandon Routh fails to live Superman the way he should have, and though there are some similarities to Christopher Reeve, and the romance between him and Lois Lane (played by Kate Bolsworth) fails to look like the fairytale romance that it’s supposed to be. Laced with arbitrary small-talk, their romance looks hackneyed and horribly clichéd in its representation. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, tries a little to breathe some life and some dread into his character, but fails to impress in a movie which is so drab as to make you want to leave the theater. All in all, super-hero fanatics would still love the movie, they would still buy a DVD and stock it for posterity, but in the tall stack of superhero flicks, this surely stays at the bottom.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead man’s chest, was yet another fiercely awaited movie this year. Depp’s performance in the prequel was reason enough for the wait. However, sequels, as previously said in the post, need to be bigger and better to succeed. Somehow, scriptwriters tend to take this a bit too far… Don’t get me wrong, Dead Man’s Chest, starts with a bang and contains everything in decent proportions, but the moment you see Davy Jones, with the hammer-shaped-head and piano-playing-tentacles, you cringe back: YES, it IS yucky. Depp is good in parts, but expecting the audience to laugh (aloud) at every single antic, is asking way too much. The action sequences are however, top-notch; and the fight-scene on a waterwheel rolling through lush green tropical scenery is rather cool. But that’s just about it.

A rather interesting horror movie, or should I say, exercise in claustrophobia, was The Descent. This story of six women, whose cave-diving expedition goes terribly wrong, is in the league of the old-style horror movies concentrating on primal fear and madness. Neil Marshall does a good job of using penetration motifs all throughout the movie in the form of stalactites and stalagmites, and the usage of darkness as a terrifyingly oppressive element of suspense and dread. Yes, I liked the movie because it was fresh, and devoid the archetypal horror flick cliché.

3 Responses to “The year 2006 in cinema”

  1. # Blogger NightWatchmen

    Well you forgot that we have Scorseses Departed coming up soon. Apart from the director we also have Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Di Caprio and Mark Wahlberg to look forward to.

    And what about the reviews of the hindi movies like "Anthon Kaun Hai" ?  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hey..I did check out ur blog at these stuff u write..i had to sit with dictionary actually ;)  

  3. # Anonymous Sandy

    The Hindi reviews for the year are coming up dude.... Will post them soon.  

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